I apologize if you have visited earlier today and found the Maintenance-Mode screen. I was moving this blog from a self-hosted dedicated server to a shared-hosting server. In this post, I will discuss the reasons for my decision and the switching experience.
Here are some reasons why I made the switch (Pros):
- I’ve been getting more readers lately so my bandwidth was almost reaching capacity. Shared-hosting is the cheapest way to get decent burstable bandwidth.
- I wanted to start focusing more on WordPress and less on FreeBSD. Making this switch will alleviate me from having to maintain/troubleshoot low-level system things, leaving me with more time to focus on WordPress development & discussion.
- I want to experience the limitations of a shared-host WordPress blog, so I can develop more effective plugins.
- I want my site to be up in the event of a power outage.
- I want my files to be securely stored in a remote location.
- *Bonus* I wanted to turn my dedicated machine into a CounterStrike Source Server.
After the switch, I immediately noticed that I couldn’t do nearly as many things as I used to be able to do before. Here are the things that I can no longer after switching to a shared-host (Cons):
- Use eAccelerator to cache my PHP op-code. Because of this, my page generation time doubled from ~0.3s to ~0.6s. Even though this is the case, I believe the switch was a good move, since my speed loss of ~0.3 is overshadowed by the speed gain from the new bandwidth connection. The switch should deliver a more pleasant experience for my readers.
- Use Varnish as a proxy caching server. Because of this, image and other static file requests will always hit the httpd process, which making the httpd process busier than it used to be when Varnish is installed. But again, this drawback is overshadowed by the monster machine that this site is now hosted on and the huge bandwidth connection.
- Optimize Apache & MySQL myself. I can live without this, but it would been nice to be able to optimize Apache & MySQL myself.
- Use SSH. I’ve requested SSH access but this was not turned on by default. I will update this list with more drawbacks as soon as I get SSH access. Potentially, these tools might not be available:
SVN and symbolic links. Update: It turns out that after poking around on the net, I was able to get SVN to work on a shared host account using solutions found in a forum thread and Joe Maller’s Blog. Here is my SVN install script. Just run it from your home directory to get SVN working on a shared host account.
Overall switching hosts is not that difficult (just a bit time-consuming if it’s your first time). Luckily I was able to follow a great checklist for host switching written by Matt Harzewski. I believe that everything should be working, but please let me know (via the About page) if you run into any problems with the website.